IWS consistently provides one of the best cost per watt pricing along with spot-on production estimates. We give you exactly what you pay for and we do it at a great value with options like our bulk purchase program along with many affordable financing choices.
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Solar energy generating systems provide several obvious benefits, the most attractive of which includes reducing your dependence on utility providers and saving money by generating your own power. But did you realize that you can maximize your cost benefits and return on investment even more by making just a few lifestyle changes? Read on for some ideas for saving money and capitalizing on your renewable energy system even more than you thought possible.
Give Up the Gas
If you use natural gas in your home for cooking, heating, hot water or drying clothes consider your options for switching these items over to electricity. Most people are unwilling to give up their natural gas cooktop, but the rest of these tasks are arguably performed more efficiently with electricity. You may not be interested in purchasing a batch of new appliances all at once, but as your gas appliances need replacing, consider the electric version instead. Meanwhile, turn to small electric appliances whenever possible for your cooking needs, including electric skillets and griddles, slow cookers and the microwave. The sooner you can cut your dependence on the gas company, the sooner you will increase your electricity savings.
Fuel Your Ride for Free
You have probably noticed that alternative energy vehicles are growing in popularity almost as quickly as solar power systems. Today, you have many electric and hybrid vehicle options to choose from, in a variety of price ranges. Vehicles powered by electricity are already much more cost-effective than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Now consider that charging an electric car in your solar energy-powered home won’t cost you anything. This essentially allows you to double your savings. Until charging stations become more common and accessible to the public, you may want to opt for a hybrid — less gasoline is needed to power a hybrid than a traditional combustion engine.
Up Your Efficiency Quotient
When you install a solar energy system on your home or business, assuming it’s properly sized and configured, there is little or no need to change your lifestyle, but if you do, even to a small degree, you can increase the amount of power you feed back to the grid. This in turn increases the credit you receive for future power use. Start by thinking about the biggest users of electricity in your home — your heater and air conditioner. Other power hogs include extra refrigerators or freezers, clothes dryers and water heaters. Lights also draw a lot of power, so switch out incandescent bulbs for LEDs. Every kilowatt you save is money back in your pocket, now that you have solar.
Intermountain Wind and Solar designs and installs affordable, no-maintenance wind and solar power systems in Utah and throughout the Mountain West region. They offer financing for qualified customers, allowing them to take advantage of alternative power systems for a low monthly payment, often with little to no up-front investment. Contact them today and find out how you can most effectively leverage solar energy for your home or business.
Where is the best spot for your wind turbine? The location is important, because it could mean the difference between a successful, lucrative project and a disappointing one. It’s important to consider all the variables before choosing the right place for your wind turbine.
You can only put one where regulations allow it, so your first step is to consult your local zoning or planning board to determine what, if any, laws govern placement of towers. If you are in a conservation or historical area, you might run into problems, so it’s important to get the OK from all relevant governing bodies. And it doesn’t hurt to check with neighbors as well — you don’t want them suddenly complaining about impacted views after your installation is complete.
High and Dry
Assuming wind turbines are permitted where you live, your next step is to find the highest, clearest spot on your property. A high-elevation spot away from trees and buildings is the best choice. If any trees, buildings or other obstacles are nearby, it is recommended that the turbine be twice the height of the obstacle to offset any interference. That being said, you don’t want turbines placed too far from the hookup to a power source, or you will lose power in the distance it takes the energy to travel through the cable. If you’re in a remote location far from the grid, a battery-storage system might be more economical for you.
Smaller, residential wind turbines require less wind power than commercial ones, but you still need a minimum amount in order for your project to be profitable. Residential turbines require sustained winds of at least 10 mph, but 12 mph and higher is better. The difference is important because it is exponential — that is, the extra 2 mph provides almost twice as much energy. It can be difficult to tell if you have enough wind power, so it’s best to have a wind specialist conduct an analysis. Sometimes simply constructing a taller tower is all you need to draw enough power. Again, make sure your local governing boards have no height restrictions for towers.
Ground Installation Preferable
Although you may sometimes see wind turbines mounted on buildings, it is not generally recommended. Even though many modern turbines are fairly quiet, the vibrations can eventually have an impact on the building’s structural integrity.
If you’re considering purchasing and installing a wind turbine to harness your own energy and save money, contact Intermountain Wind & Solar. They can provide a free wind analysis and determine the best location for your turbine.
Many consumers continue to resist solar energy and other alternative power generation systems, despite their many proven benefits and advantages. This problem has proven to be confounding for those who understand the true benefits of alternative energy systems. Some reasons that consumers cite for discounting solar energy’s many benefits include confusion and unreasonable demands, restrictions and fees posed by homeowners’ associations and public utility providers. Exacerbating the situation are the many misleading or discouraging stories proliferated by some mainstream media outlets. Today’s consumers deserve the straight story on solar and wind energy.
Confusion or Misunderstanding about Solar Energy
When it comes to getting information about alternative energy systems, sometimes you may be faced with too much of a good thing. Making the transition to solar power can be a bit confusing at times. Different terminology is often used to describe the same technology, and many potential configurations and system types are currently offered. A reputable solar power systems dealer will provide helpful information and direct answers, free of jargon or complicated terminology.
Mainstream Media Manipulation
If you were to believe everything you read and hear about solar power, you would be justified in holding off. For unknown reasons, many large media outlets continue to publish misleading or discouraging information about it. The most popular sentiment expressed is that the technology isn’t perfected yet, but still in development. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Today, wind and solar technology already offer a significant cost savings over fossil fuels and the power they generate. Some of this misinformation originates from data related to solar leasing, which is much different than purchasing solar panels and owning them. With leasing, customers realize some savings but not nearly to the extent as buying. When purchasing or financing new solar and wind systems, clients begin to realize cost savings immediately, and in most cases repay their investment completely in only a few years.
Utility Company and HOA Restrictions
You may have heard that public utility providers all across the country are attempting to charge solar and wind energy customers extra fees or surcharges. While this battle is raging in some areas, consumers are pushing back in others such as Wisconsin. In Utah for example, Rocky Mountain Power proposed a small monthly tariff for solar customers but offers a variety of rebates, incentives and an option for net metering services. Homeowners associations, although historically averse to the appearance of visible solar panels, have begun to adapt to this growing and important trend by necessity. In some states, including Utah, HOAs are restricted from prohibiting alternative energy systems in most cases.
Intermountain Wind and Solar, serving Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho, understands how challenging it can be to transition to a renewable energy system. Although the investment is significant, it begins to pay off immediately in many ways. Contact them today for the answers to all your questions about wind and solar energy systems.
You may be eligible for a tax credit for buying a wind turbine. If you have been considering purchasing this renewable energy resource, now is the time, because in order to get your credit, your turbine must be installed by Dec. 31, 2016.
Saving energy is not only good for the environment, it’s good for your pocketbook. Installing a wind turbine harnesses the earth’s natural energy — wind — and uses it to power your appliances, electronics, lights and anything else that plugs into the wall. It’s safe, clean and best of all — free! In fact, if you have extra wind energy left over at the end of the month, you can sell it back to your local electric company for a profit!
The federal government is happy when consumers want to help harness their own energy, so it has passed several bills over the years to assist home and business owners in making the investment. An amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, among other actions, provides a tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of purchase and installation for a wind turbine at your home, plus a second at another property if you have one. Your turbine need not be at your principal residence either — if you have a vacation home or any second property in a windy spot, you can still get the same credit.
The savings is a substantial one, so you must be certain to save all the documentation and receipts from the transaction. If your tax credit ends up being for more money than you owe in the next tax year, you can carry over the credit until the next tax year, but not past 2016. Consult your tax preparer or accountant to make sure your tax payment schedule is not too high so that you do not lose any of this valuable credit.
In order to get proper credit, you must file tax form 5695, for a residential energy-efficient property credit. It can be used for the cost of purchasing and installing wind turbines, solar cells, geothermal heat pumps and fuel cells. Be sure that your equipment and installation qualifies for credit before completing the purchase.
If you have at least a half-acre away from trees and buildings and a good, steady wind, a turbine might be right for you. How windy is windy enough? Generally, at least 10 miles per hour, but 12 is better. Intermountain Wind and Solar provides free wind assessments to ascertain if your property is windy enough to benefit from a turbine. If it is, they can provide details on how you can get your wind turbine and a welcome tax credit.
Decorative solar panel designs are showing up in, on and around homes all across the country. As more and more Americans are switching to the money-saving, independent solar lifestyle, architects and designers are finding creative ways to make solar panels beautiful. If that sounds like an oxymoron, you might be surprised at how well photovoltaic panels can become architectural design elements.
Solar Panels as a Decorative Patio Overhang
An architectural firm in Seattle incorporated PV panels into the design of contemporary patio homes as cantilevered patio covers. These urban dwelling units were designed with a south-facing orientation, placing the panels at an ideal angle for collecting sunlight. Doing double duty as door- and window-shade structures, the reflective surface of the panels lends a striking design element to the black aluminum window frames and warm tones of the wood exterior cladding.
PV Canopy Structure as a Poolside Arbor
In San Jose, one creative homeowner found a perfect decorative use for his solar panel system, creating a large poolside arbor shade structure topped with a large PV array. Decorative wrought-iron scrollwork was used in the support columns, which were painted to blend into the surrounding vegetation. A custom landscape design helped integrate the large structure, using in-ground and potted trees and sculptural plantings to create a dramatic outdoor space.
Tiny Houses Go Solar
The tiny house movement is gaining steam, as people increasingly seek scaled-back designs that allow them to live independently. The owners of one famous micro dwelling known as the Tiny Tack House designed an off-grid system to fully support their 140-square-foot home on wheels. The house, infused with light, features 11 windows and a gabled roof with tiny dormers. Designing the power system presented a challenge, since the panels could not be roof mounted. The array was attached to a ground-mounted rack system. With a carefully selected water heater and appliances, the residents are able to live completely off the grid for six months of the year, even in the less sunny climes of Washington state.
You can incorporate your solar power system in countless creative ways, and Intermountain Wind and Solar is committed to designing an alternative power solution that works for your lifestyle and goals. If you are a resident of Wyoming, Nevada, Utah, Colorado or Idaho, contact Intermountain today for more information on decorative solar applications.
Community solar installations are a powerful and effective way of simplifying the process of adopting renewable, affordable alternative energy systems. You and your neighbors can derive some great benefits from pooling your collective resources and buying power. Ultimately, determining whether this approach is right for you, your family and your community will depend on several key factors.
What is Community Solar?
People who live in a planned community or belong to a homeowners association may share an interest in saving money and reducing their dependence on municipal utility providers. Individual homeowners may not know where to start gathering information or finding answers to their questions. All across the country, neighbors and community members are joining forces to learn about solar energy and to increase their options and buying power. In Utah, communities are installing renewable energy systems encompassing several homes or entire streets or blocks at a time. When community members join together to pursue adopting renewable energy technology, the group can derive many significant benefits.
Benefits of Adopting Solar Technology as a Community
The process of adopting a solar energy system can be confusing and time consuming. When neighbors join together, they have the opportunity to learn about photovoltaic and other energy-producing technologies at the same time, pool their knowledge and receive answers to their questions. Cost is also a concern for many people, but a community’s buying power can be significant, providing bulk purchase discounts. Installation, when performed on a community basis, can facilitate the permitting and homeowners association approval process as well. If your HOA has not modified its design guidelines or CC&Rs to embrace alternative energy installation, petitioning the association as a group greatly improves the chances of a positive response.
Will a Community-Based Approach Benefit You?
Investigating and adopting solar power as a group offers many benefits and few drawbacks. The first step is to determine whether your neighbors are interested in learning more. Most solar providers can furnish you with educational materials that you can share with neighbors in your area for advice on mounting a community effort. Remember to contact your HOA or other local governing body to learn their process on submitting for approval. In many communities, independent nonprofit groups have formed specifically for the purpose of helping neighborhoods achieve energy independence, efficiency and significant cost savings that solar, wind and other renewable energy systems can provide.
Intermountain Wind and Solar, serving customers in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada and Idaho, helps their customers end their dependence on public power providers in a highly cost-effective manner. Contact them today to learn more information about how community solar can benefit you.
Solar power provides a number of benefits for homeowners, the most significant of which is cost savings. Solar energy not only saves you money, it offers the most efficient and environmentally conscious type of power available today and reduces or eliminates your dependence on public utilities. Utah is particularly advantageous for solar energy, thanks to a high level of generation potential and favorable solar metering and access laws. Determining the number of solar panels you need can be a confusing prospect however, requiring several complex calculations.
Determine Which Type of System You Want
The type of solar energy system you select will influence the size requirements, to best meet your consumption needs. You have many options in selecting the type of panels you want, ranging from relatively inefficient to highly efficient systems. If you have limited space available for installing your panels, a more efficient system is required. You must also decide whether you want to remain tied in to the municipal power grid or cut ties with the grid completely. If you elect to remain on the grid, you can choose to add a battery back-up function to provide power in case of grid failure.
Determine Your Home’s Power Requirements
Your utility bills are one tool you can use to identify your home’s power consumption. If you have access to previous bills, review at least two years’ worth to derive an accurate estimate of your annual consumption in kilowatt (kw) hours. However, if you have moved or added (or subtracted) members to your household, there are more reliable ways to determine your future power needs. Energy.gov offers a calculator to help determine your energy needs based on the number and type of appliances and electronic devices you use. This helpful site also offers advice for calculating your power requirements based on lifestyle and usage patterns.
Consider the Potential System Location
The geographic location of your home and where you plan to place your solar panels also figure into the equation. Even the direction your home faces makes a difference. You can elect to mount your panels on the roof or in an alternative location, based on your property’s configuration. Another factor to know is the average number of solar days (based on average available sunlight) for your location each year. This indicates the amount of solar radiation that reaches the panels and further helps to identify how much energy each panel can generate.
Determining the number of panels your solar energy system requires can be confusing but very worthwhile, based on the money you stand to save. Intermountain Wind & Solar specializes in helping Utah residents save money and reduce their dependence on expensive public utilities. Their experienced professional consultants can help you determine the type and size of solar power system that will most effectively serve your home and save you money.
The controversy surrounding solar surcharges is really heating up in the United States right now. Electric utility providers, as government-regulated services, are essentially federally sanctioned monopolies. Prior attempts to open up competition between utility providers have failed across the country. Today, power providers know that their heyday is potentially coming to an end. Meanwhile, they’re holding on by slapping solar users with surcharges to compensate for their antiquated business model.
Surcharges and the Old Model of Utility Delivery
Today, utility providers are private for-profit corporations or cooperatives, either publicly owned or municipal. Electricity is generated in a controlled market environment, where the government regulates supply and demand as well who can and can’t compete in the market. The industry design was based on a one-way delivery system in which the utility generates power and delivers it to its customers. The viability of the utility depends on a minimum level of consumption and the fees that accompany that use. If the minimum consumption drops, the utility must raise its rates to stay afloat. Or, in the case of those people generating their own power (and thus lowering demand), they endeavor to collect a surcharge.
How Solar and Renewable Energy are Changing Things
Customers who install their own power generating systems (wind or solar, for example) require less utility power and thus pay significantly reduced usage fees. The utility can raise everyone else’s rates or they can put the burden on those people who have taken proactive steps to reduce their own dependence on the utility. Some utilities have even attempted to halt solar project installations, claiming they unfairly compete with the monopolies granted to the utility providers by the government. It’s estimated that a new solar power generating system goes online in the United States every three to four minutes, so the problem is not going away for the electricity providers any time soon.
The Future of Solar Surcharges
At the heart of this debate is the energy banking that solar power allows. If your system generates more power than you can use, it’s returned to the utility for their distribution, and they in turn issue you credit for future power consumption, a process known as net metering. Utility companies complain because issued credits are at full value, which supposedly includes the cost of power grid infrastructure (wires, poles, meters). This issue has become more of a political debate these days and the future is difficult to predict. The increase in solar power’s popularity (and its dramatic drop in cost) is providing a larger, more powerful voice for solar customers, however, and little by little surcharges are likely to disappear or become more in line with reality and fairness to solar customers.
Intermountain Wind and Solar serves the intermountain west region, designing and installing renewable energy systems for residential and commercial customers. Contact them to learn more about the advantages of solar power and how to fight any proposed surcharges.
How often were you without power this winter? A home generator is not only a convenience for your, but it sometimes can mean the difference between life and death. Winter weather is unpredictable — snow, ice, sleet, hail or high winds can all cause downed wires and power outages. Warm-weather months generally see fewer outages, but a powerful thunderstorm can still cut off electricity to homes and businesses. You are especially vulnerable if you live in a remote area, where fewer customers can be affected, making them a lower priority on the power company’s list.
Threat of Cold
A power outage can last from a few minutes to a few days, or in some severe cases, longer than a week. At first it can be fun to gather in the living room with the family and play board games like in the old days without the distraction of the television or the Internet. You can hold your family’s attention until their phone batteries die (you can recharge them in the car, but usually only one at a time). But especially in cold weather, this type of “camping” can get old quickly. It’s harder to have fun when you’re chilled to the bone. Most of today’s fireplaces are not built to heat rooms, and they can only do so much to help you stay warm.
An outage that lasts more than a day in the winter can be uncomfortably cold, and you will likely find yourself packing sooner or later to head off to a friend’s, relative’s or hotel. You’ll be safe, but what about your home? You may be able to take the dog or cat with you, but you may not. Small and exotic animals can get cold quickly, and fish will die without their heater and filter. Your pipes could freeze, costing thousands in damages and repairs.
In the summer, your home can heat up rapidly without the air conditioning you’re used to. You can sleep in the basement for a couple of days — if you have one — but you and your home can suffer other repercussions. Not only would you be deprived of all of your modern conveniences like microwaves and stereos, but after 24 hours, the food in your freezer will start to thaw. If you have reserves stored in extra freezers, it’s more spoilage to worry about.
Protect yourself, your family and your home by investing in a home generator. Modern generators run on propane gas or gasoline, and can be installed with a transfer switch so they come on within moments of a power loss, even if you are not home! This is critical, because if your home loses power while you are at work or elsewhere and you don’t even realize it, your home and its contents could be at risk.
Intermountain Wind and Solar installs home generators in the Greater Salt Lake City area and beyond. Contact them today to find out how a generator can help protect your home, and provide you and your loved ones with the peace of mind of knowing you have a backup plan in case of severe weather.